Aliens: The New American Religion?

35 percent of Americans believe in the existence of aliens

For Americans, the year 2019 is an excellent time to believe in extraterrestrial life. Aliens and UFOs are no longer in the fringes of culture . Newspapers like The New York Times have published UFO sightings by navy pilots who even recorded those mysterious flying objects. These objects have no infrared or visible engine exhaust but could fly at hypersonic speeds and reach 30,000 feet. Diana Pasulka, a University of North Carolina professor and the author of American Cosmic, a new book dealing with extraterrestrials and UFOs, believes the two have become yet another variety of religion.

Pasulka’s book is different from others in the field. As an author, she does not focus on marginal cults or grassroots investigative societies, but influential people who believe in the existence of UFOs. The narrative in the book starts simple enough, with her driving on a hilly area with Jacques Vallee, the well-known computer scientist, and venture capitalist. Vallee, by his admission, is also a UFOlogist. He tells Pasulka that Silicon Valley has many secrets and can be compared to the Vatican when it came to secret archives. Readers of the book are also introduced to “Tyler” a powerful man and biomedical technology mogul linked with the United States space program. Tyler, which is not that person’s real name, is an ardent believer in aliens. He even claimed that part of his career success could be ascribed to efforts made by aliens.

In her book, Pasulka describes a belief in aliens and UFOs as the manifestation of the age-old religious impulse. There is something about extraterrestrials which captivates many people. A poll conducted among Americans showed about 35 percent of United States residents believe that the Earth had alien visitors in the planetary past and about 26 percent hold the belief that many aliens came to Earth during the recent few years. The belief in UFOs is strikingly like religious instances-like the list of sacred revelations, and sacred sites. There are also credible witnesses to many so-called miraculous events.

Pasulka was shocked by the deep beliefs many noted scientists harbor for extraterrestrials. She admits a few such scientists have discovered many unusual things. She was surprised to find out the level of scientific inquiry towards extraterrestrials.

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